Way back in the day, my sequencer (I want to say Mas­ter Tracks Pro, but it might have been Cake­walk at this point) had a func­tion where I could stretch a block of MIDI notes to any dura­tion, inde­pen­dent of tra­di­tion­al mea­sure divi­sions. So, effec­tive­ly, you could make parts of your ensem­ble play at dif­fer­ent tem­pos than each oth­er (march­ing to the beat of their own drum­mers, as it were).

“Why would you want that?” is the obvi­ous ques­tion, and I don’t real­ly have an answer for you except “I was at CalArts.”

I made a piece there, where every instru­ment in the orches­tra (split into pairs) was play­ing Bach’s Inven­tion #1, at inde­pen­dent but very slow tem­pos.  (At full speed, it would have been an impen­e­tra­ble mess. But at a glac­i­er’s pace, the chaos feels like delib­er­ate choices.)

It’s hard to describe, real­ly. Your mind would pick out repeat­ing motifs, but could­n’t iden­ti­fy a loop­ing pat­tern. New melodies would emerge, and feel like they’d always been there. If you left and came back, you’d hear some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent. But if you’d stayed to lis­ten, you would­n’t have felt a tran­si­tion from one realm to the next.

I believe the expe­ri­ence last­ed for sev­en­teen days from begin­ning to end.

I was nev­er able to con­vince human per­form­ers to take on this chal­lenge. And even if I had, there was no media capa­ble of record­ing it back then.

I’m sure the only ver­sion that exists is on an unla­beled flop­py disk (which I no longer have dri­ves to read), in a pro­pri­etary file for­mat (for soft­ware that does­n’t exist anymore).


Soft­ware does­n’t real­ly let you do that anymore.

So, I built some­thing this morn­ing which restores this ability.

Again, the “why” part is hard­er to pin down…

There’s a few things to clean up, still.
I’ll share the device when I deem it “not dan­ger­ous,” and make a video when I fig­ure out what it’s for.

Mean­while, what do you think I should call the thing?

(I’ve been going with work­ing title “Trans­porter”, because it acts as a sur­ro­gate for Live’s trans­port.  But dad jokes aside, that’s not what a trans­porter is…)

“Orbituary” arc demo

Just an explo­ration of sim­u­lat­ed physics-based audio con­trols.  The video explains itself some­what bet­ter than I can in text.

I pro­grammed this back in 2011, but am plan­ning to revis­it the idea soon. The big change being, rather than four pre­re­cord­ed audio loops, I’d like to dynam­i­cal­ly gen­er­ate those loops with a grid based step sequencer interface.

Any­way… if you’re a max/msp user with first gen­er­a­tion monome arc hard­ware at your dis­pos­al, and want to dig into sev­er­al drafts of my ancient source code for some rea­son, that can be found in this forum thread.
(I would be “greaterthanze­ro” there)

pushCCs app

This app cre­ates vir­tu­al MIDI ports for map­ping in Able­ton, and pro­vides indi­vid­ual pres­sure val­ues for each button.

I’ve added an option­al latch­ing mech­a­nism. When that is active, you can press any of the cor­ners to hold the oth­er but­tons in place. You can then safe­ly remove your hand from those but­tons with­out zero­ing out their parameters.

Addi­tion­al­ly, if you press three of the cor­ners simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, that will zero out all of the but­tons and their asso­ci­at­ed values.

If you’ve got a foot ped­al plugged in (slot 1), you can use that for latch­ing instead of the corners.

Note: This one is Mac only. It relies on some ser­vices from the oper­at­ing sys­tem, as well as the friend­lier device shar­ing nature of things in gen­er­al. At this time, there are no plans to cre­ate an equiv­a­lent PC work­flow. The editable .max­pat file is includ­ed, should you like to attempt a port yourself.



  • …had all kinds of prob­lems. you don’t want it.


    (note: the com­piled ver­sion includ­ed here was not in fact stand­alone. I’ve since learned how to make those correctly)

Josh Spoon did a video write­up of v1.0 here:

as part of his excel­lent “30 Days of Able­ton Push” exploration.

early prototype / previous max for live version

I’ll write up a prop­er expla­na­tion lat­er, but here.

requires Able­ton Live 9, Push, and Max For Live. if you don’t have those things, this prob­a­bly won’t inter­est you.

par­tial­ly based on this:

or rather, the old version:

(This is miss­ing near­ly every fea­ture you’d pos­si­bly care about, but it does­n’t require the max run­time. I may add some of the func­tion­al­i­ty from the run­time ver­sion back into this lat­er, when v2 is fleshed out a bit more, but there’s no point with this ver­sion. m4l will nev­er sup­port poly after­touch, so it’s strict­ly a mat­ter of whether the oth­er fea­tures add enough with­out that. They don’t yet.)

Suspension Pedal, Max for Live MIDI device

You’re prob­a­bly famil­iar with the piano’s sus­tain ped­al, and how that works. When you press it, it dis­ables the mechan­i­cal action that ends a note when you take your hand off a key. When you release the ped­al, that action is re-enabled. 

That’s the extreme­ly sim­pli­fied expla­na­tion that a MIDI key­board­’s sus­tain ped­al repro­duces, at any rate. While the ped­al is pressed, notes ring indef­i­nite­ly, allow­ing you extra time to repo­si­tion your hands, but also cre­at­ing a mud­dy dis­so­nant mess if you’re not careful.

There’s anoth­er vari­a­tion, called the sostenu­to ped­al, which you’re prob­a­bly less famil­iar with. Essen­tial­ly, the notes that were held down when you depress the ped­al con­tin­ue to ring indef­i­nite­ly, but notes pressed sub­se­quent to that are still end­ed by lift­ing your fin­gers off the keys. So you can, for exam­ple, strike a dra­mat­ic chord and play short notes on top of it with­out hav­ing to leave one or both hands on that held chord.

Most MIDI soft­ware and devices don’t sup­port the sostenu­to ped­al, but the mag­ic of script­ing allows us to cre­ate it, if desired.

What I’ve cre­at­ed isn’t quite that, either. It’s a third ped­al behav­ior that I don’t think I’ve seen before. I’m call­ing it a sus­pen­sion pedal.

The notes that were held when you depress the ped­al ring out indef­i­nite­ly. Then while the ped­al is pressed, all input from your key­board is ignored. Final­ly, at the moment you release the ped­al, it changes to whichev­er keys you hap­pen to be pressing. 

If you’ve released a note, that note ends.
If you’ve added a note, that note sounds.
If you’ve left a note alone, it con­tin­ues to sound.

This was specif­i­cal­ly devised for sit­u­a­tions where you’re con­trol­ling mul­ti­ple instru­ments simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. Add this device to one instru­men­t’s device chain, and you can force that instru­ment to fall in and out of sync with the oth­ers harmonically.

And here’s the down­load link:
Sus­pen­sion Ped­al v1.0

Ver­sion 2 will have a con­fig­urable thresh­old, so if you’re using a more expres­sive con­trol (which sends a full range of CCs rather than sim­ple on/off mes­sages), you can set dif­fer­ent instances to trig­ger at dif­fer­ent lev­els. Unless in test­ing, that proves to be a ter­ri­ble idea, at which point there is no ver­sion 2.

It was­n’t a ter­ri­ble idea, but I’m not sure the added com­plex­i­ty is of tremen­dous ben­e­fit to any­one. I’ll leave both ver­sions avail­able, but for the moment, I think I pre­fer v1 myself.
Sus­pen­sion Ped­al v2.01

2.01 added a non­de­script grey but­ton below the thresh­old slid­er. Press­ing it sets the thresh­old slid­er to match what­ev­er the ped­al slid­er is cur­rent­ly set to. This should make it eas­i­er to set things “by feel”; map the ped­al slid­er first, find your sweet spot, and press the but­ton to lock that into place.

Note: All three of these con­trols can be mapped to automa­tion clips, or the out­put of oth­er apps. I can’t think of a sin­gle rea­son why you’d want to do that, but I left the option open.